teacher, home demonstration agent, and administrator, was born in Finchburg, Alabama, to Elijah E. and Frances (Moore) Edwards. Mary Evelyn V. Edwards was the fifteenth of their seventeen children, and she worked as a bookkeeper at her father's store, sawmill, and gin. She was a senior in the local high school when she married J. A. Hunter, the high school principal. The couple moved first to Woodville, Texas, and then relocated to La Porte, Texas, where they leased a ranch on Jennings Island. They had two sons, John McNeile Hunter in 1901 and Ira T. Hunter in 1905. M. E. V. Hunter taught school, and after her husband's death in the early 1910s, she began taking courses at Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College (later Prairie View A&M) to gain teaching credentials. She ultimately earned a BS from that school in 1926 ...
Debra A. Reid
Georgia commissioner of labor, state representative, and lawyer, was born in Athens, Georgia, the youngest of nine children of Sidney and Vanilla Thurmond. His parents were sharecroppers.
Athens is home to the University of Georgia, which remained segregated until Thurmond was eight years old. Thurmond's home in rural Clarke County was a world away from the university. He recalled, “I was sixteen before we got an indoor bathroom” (author's interview with Thurmond, 2005). But his parents made education a priority. All the Thurmond children finished high school and four of them—including Michael—finished college.
Thurmond attended segregated schools until his senior year in high school, when the county schools were consolidated in 1971. The black high school, Burney Harris was slated for closure not integration and Thurmond led an unsuccessful protest against the closing When the school board sought and won an injunction to ...